"It makes me hate accepting things that are probable when they are held up before me as infallibly true. I prefer these words which tone down and modify the hastiness of our propositions: "Perhaps, In some sort, Some, They say, I think," and the like."
"If these Essays were worthy of being judged, it might fall out, in my opinion, that they would not find much favour, either with common and vulgar minds, or with uncommon and eminent ones: the former would not find enough in them, the latter would find too much; they might manage to live somewhere in the middle region."
"While our pulse beats and we feel emotion, let us put off the business. Things will truly seem different to us when we have quieted and cooled down. It is passion that is in command at first, it is passion that speaks, it is not we ourselves."
"I would rather produce my passions than brood over them at my expense; they grow languid when they have vent and expression. It is better that their point should operate outwardly than be turned against us."
"What we are told of the inhabitants of Brazil, that they never die but of old age, is attributed to the tranquility and serenity of their climate; I rather attribute it to the tranquility and serenity of their souls, which are free from all passion, thought, or any absorbing and unpleasant labors. Those people spend their lives in an admirable simplicity and ignorance, without letters, without law, without king, without any manner of religion."
"In order always to learn something from others (which is the finest school there can be), I observe in my travels this practice: I always steer those with whom I talk back to the things they know best."
"I, who travel most often for my pleasure, do not direct myself so badly. If it looks ugly on the right, I take the left; if I find myself unfit to ride my horse, I stop.... Have I left something unseen behind me? I go back; it is still on my road. I trace no fixed line, either straight or crooked."
"After mature deliberation of counsel, the good Queen to establish a rule and imitable example unto all posterity, for the moderation and required modesty in a lawful marriage, ordained the number of six times a day as a lawful, necessary and competent limit."
"Of all illusions in the world, the most universally received is the concern for reputation and glory, which we espouse even to the point of giving up riches, rest, life, and health, which are effectual and substantial goods, to follow that vain phantom and mere sound that has neither body nor substance."